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Those for whom India proves too strong

Patricia Craig, 31 March 1988

Three Continents 
by Ruth PrawerJhabvala.
Murray, 384 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7195 4433 5
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... taste of ecstatic sex, and it goes to her head. She proceeds to marry him. Since the mid-Fifties, Ruth PrawerJhabvala has been scrutinising such inter-racial marriages, as well as examining the importation into India of European attitudes, and vice versa; her earliest novels were domestic comedies set in Delhi, among ...

Poles Apart

John Sutherland, 5 May 1983

Give us this day 
by Janusz Glowacki, translated by Konrad Brodzinski.
Deutsch, 121 pp., £6.95, March 1983, 0 233 97518 7
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In Search of Love and Beauty 
by Ruth PrawerJhabvala.
Murray, 227 pp., £8.50, April 1983, 0 7195 4062 3
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Listeners 
by Sally Emerson.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 7181 2134 1
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Flying to Nowhere 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 89 pp., £4.95, March 1983, 0 907540 27 9
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Some prefer nettles 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 155 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51603 9
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The Makioka Sisters 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 530 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 330 28046 5
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‘The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi’ and ‘Arrowroot’ 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Anthony Chambers.
Secker, 199 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51602 0
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... the crackdown, Orwell’s consigning Boxer to the knacker’s yard seems a more plausible outcome. Ruth PrawerJhabvala is a very different Pole. In 1975, with the Booker Prize awarded (to the accompaniment of some chauvinistic protest), it was commonplace to rank her with Conrad. The follow-up to Heat and Dust has been ...

The Master

C.K. Stead, 30 November 1995

Shards of Memory 
by Ruth PrawerJhabvala.
Murray, 272 pp., £15.99, July 1995, 9780719555718
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... odd pieces of narrative embroidery? Such questions may help to explain the unsatisfactoriness of Ruth PrawerJhabvala’s recent novels. Or simpler explanations may be more pertinent: waning energy, for example, and the loss, or abandonment, of her real – her serious ...

Family Life

Penelope Fitzgerald, 25 March 1993

Poet and Dancer 
by Ruth PrawerJhabvala.
Murray, 199 pp., £14.99, April 1993, 0 7195 5189 7
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Peerless Flats 
by Esther Freud.
Hamish Hamilton, 218 pp., £14.99, February 1993, 0 241 13385 8
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... The poet is not a poet in Ruth PrawerJhabvala’s new novel, and the dancer is not a dancer. ‘Although her movements were always the same – she waved her arms above her head, she ran now to the right of the room, now to the left – her audience obligingly saw what she wanted them to see ...

Sugar-Sticky

Gabriele Annan: Anita Desai, 27 May 1999

Fasting, Feasting 
by Anita Desai.
Chatto, 240 pp., £14.99, June 1999, 0 7011 6894 3
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... Baedeker’s Italy, Baedeker’s France. In a sense, all Desai’s novels are Baedekers. With Ruth PrawerJhabvala, she is the best of guides to what it’s like to be Indian, and maybe that is because she is half-German – Prawer Jhabvala is Indian only by marriage, and ...

Sir Jim

Reyner Banham, 22 May 1980

Memoirs of an Unjust Fella: An Autobiography 
by J.M. Richards.
Weidenfeld, 279 pp., £10, March 1980, 9780297777670
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... are people, from Aalto to Zuckermann, taking in Fidel Castro, Elizabeth David, Erskine Childers, Ruth PrawerJhabvala, Robert Byron, Lawrence Durrell, Le Corbusier, Malcolm MacDonald, Tambimuttu ... and Donald Maclean. It is completely typical of the whole book that Maclean (whom he knew at school at Gresham’s) is ...

Booker Books

Frank Kermode, 22 November 1979

... in the list – perhaps there’s a nostalgia for the old Empire (Scott, J.G. Farrell, Ruth PrawerJhabvala, plus Nadine Gordimer, Naipaul, and P.H. Newby on Suez). Negatively, you won’t expect, and won’t find, anything that looks very ‘experimental’. Muriel Spark must have come up again and ...

Saboteurs

Sylvia Clayton, 5 April 1984

Something Out There 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Cape, 203 pp., £8.50, March 1984, 0 224 02189 3
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My Search for Warren Harding 
by Robert Plunket.
Robin Clark, 247 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 86072 071 3
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West of Sunset 
by Dirk Bogarde.
Allen Lane, 248 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 9780713916324
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... reproaches is embarrassing. She is a wonderfully clear-sighted writer, innately courteous, like Ruth PrawerJhabvala or E.M. Forster, to the creatures of her imagination. It is foolhardy of her, though, to take on Kafka, whose work remains a set text for any examination on the 20th century. Both Robert Plunket and ...
Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism and History 
by Vron Ware.
Verso, 263 pp., £34.95, February 1992, 0 86091 336 8
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Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation 
by Mary Louise Pratt.
Routledge, 257 pp., £35, January 1992, 9780415026758
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... and Colonial College in London. What followed after her arrival in India reads like the plot of a Ruth PrawerJhabvala novel. Finding it easy to dislike the memsahibs and missionaries she met in Calcutta, Ackroyd unexpectedly found it easy to dislike the Indians too. Acquiring premises for her school proved laborious ...

Who were they?

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: ‘Thuggee’, 3 December 2009

Stranglers and Bandits: A Historical Anthology of ‘Thuggee’ 
edited by Kim Wagner.
Oxford, 318 pp., £22.99, January 2009, 978 0 19 569815 2
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... affinity with the blood brotherhood’ of the thugs. While Merchant’s sometime collaborators (Ruth PrawerJhabvala as well as James Ivory) seem to have winced when faced with the chief plot premise – that an upper-class Englishman could effortlessly pass himself off as a lower-class Indian – Merchant himself ...

Jane Austen’s Latest

Marilyn Butler, 21 May 1981

Jane Austen’s ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ 
edited by Brian Southam.
Oxford, 150 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 19 812637 9
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... the Sotheby’s auction – Jane Austen in Manhattan, directed by James Ivory and scripted by Ruth PrawerJhabvala. Jane Austen’s contribution to the film was admittedly slight to begin with, and became wholly submerged, in what turned out to be a subtle, ambivalent study of two rival producers of the play, with ...

Paper or Plastic?

John Sutherland: Richard Powers, 10 August 2000

Gain 
by Richard Powers.
Heinemann, 355 pp., £15.99, March 2000, 0 434 00862 1
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... MacArthur’s senior citizens. William Gaddis (1982) was awarded a fellowship at the age of 60, Ruth PrawerJhabvala (1984) at 57, Susan Sontag (1990) at 59, Ernest J. Gaines (1993) at 60. Thomas Pynchon was a relatively young 51 when he won, but by 1988 already the author of his major works. The Foundation ...

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